Elsewhere I have written about the power and importance of sacred music on one’s spiritual journey. I have paid particular attention to “Amazing Grace”, a beautiful hymn that has special meaning for those of us recovering from addiction. However, I’ve realized that there are other songs that have been important to me and inspired me on my own journey. By songs I don’t mean hymns. Some are folk songs. Others are from Broadway musicals. And one piece is classical.
An early song that had great meaning to me was “The Impossible Dream” from the musical Man of La Mancha. This song inspired the idealism of my youth. Life being what it is, that idealism has become somewhat jaded over time but it still gives me pause.
The song “Try to Remember” from the musical The Fantastiks speaks to me of the fading of youth and yet the power of memories of the romanticism of that youth. It is also a song I sang to my future wife on an early date. And, yes, that is Jerry Orbach from Law and Order. He performed the song in the original production
Those of us who grew up in the 60s were greatly influenced and inspired by folks music. Songs such as “The Times They are A-changing” spoke to our unrest, our questions. My personal favorite is “Blowin’ In the Wind” by Peter, Paul and Mary.
When I headed back East to spend time with my dying mother, one evening I put on some music for comfort. What I heard was “Jupiter” from Holsts’ The Planets, somehow the magnificence of that piece captured the power of the loss of one’s mother. It still does.
In the same vein, the song “Leader of the Band” gave me words to speak at my father’s funeral: “Papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough”.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYFVEB4j6zI
Music is also a big part of my Irish heritage which I have embraced more and more. The song “The Parting Glass” celebrates that heritage for me and gives me a viewpoint as I age. And, yes, I don’t drink alcohol anymore so my parting glass won’t have ale in it!
Finally there is a John Denver song which summarizes my spiritual journey better than any other song I know.
Reflection: Are there songs that capture your spiritual journey?
NOTE: If the link doesn’t work, all pieces can be found on YouTube